Welche Wirkung hat Nikotin auf den Muskelaufbau?

Snus has been used for quite some time by athletes, especially ice hockey and football players, before important competitions. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that nicotine influences muscle building and leads to an increase in performance. We want to get to the bottom of the matter and explain what effect nicotine has in weight training and whether the intake of snus is really helpful in muscle building.

How does nicotine affect muscle growth?

First of all, it should be noted that the effect of nicotine strongly depends on the snus application, for example, how often snus is consumed by a person, how high the nicotine content is and how long the bags are kept in the mouth. Individual factors also play a role here, as each body reacts differently to nicotine. 

The intake of nicotine has both positive and negative effects on muscle building. But how does muscle building actually work? Muscles are formed when the load increases and the muscles adapt to the new stimuli during the regeneration period. Due to the increased load, the cross-section of the muscle fibers increases and they become thicker.

What happens when nicotine is ingested?

As soon as nicotine is absorbed by the body, blood flow in the muscles deteriorates and they are supplied with less energy. Thus, the body cannot build up muscle mass as usual and the power output drops. Likewise, the coordination of the athletes deteriorates, because the transmission of signals between the muscles is disturbed.

So why do more and more athletes reach for nicotine and how does snus increase performance? Nicotine triggers positive feelings in the body, because the reward center is activated and we release more dopamine. At the same time, adrenaline levels also go up and athletes feel more energetic. Negative feelings like nervousness and stress are suppressed and they can concentrate better.

Snus and metabolism

As already mentioned, the intake of nicotine increases the release of dopamine, adrenaline and also serotonin. It is well known that abrupt cessation of smoking leads to weight gain and the same can happen with other nicotine products as dopamine suppresses the feeling of hunger. Thus, athletes gain weight faster when they stop consuming snus or similar products.

Effects of snus on muscle building at a glance

Positive consequences


  • Increased concentration
  • Nervousness is suppressed
  • Adrenalin goes up
  • Dopamine release is increased

Negative consequences

  • Energy supply decreases
  • Blood circulation are deteriorated
  • Coordination is disturbed
  • Power output goes down


Snus and other nicotine products as doping agents?


Nicotine-containing products such as snus have so far only been on the World Anti-Doping Agency's watch list, but have not been banned in sports. Since studies have so far been unable to demonstrate any clear performance enhancement, nicotine is not (yet) on the banned list. What is certain is that snus has a stimulating effect, but this alone is not enough to gain clear advantages in competitions.

Comparison of cigarettes and snus in muscle building

Occasionally, the media announces that even professional athletes reach for the cigarette. This can have devastating consequences for muscle development, because a cigarette leads to a higher intake of carbon monoxide and this is deposited in the lungs. Carbon monoxide attaches itself to red blood cells and slows down the transport of oxygen. Oxygen is needed in muscle building to provide energy.

With snus, on the other hand, no combustion takes place during consumption, and athletes at least do not have to worry about carbon monoxide. If you want to build muscle despite snus, you should reduce the amount of nicotine it contains.


Nicotine-containing products such as snus have positive and negative effects in muscle building. Nicotine increases the production of adrenaline and dopamine, which is desirable in sports. However, it decreases energy supply and worsens blood flow, two critical factors that can slow muscle building. Further studies are needed to draw firm conclusions about snus and performance enhancement.

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